19.03.2020Bitesize

Bite size – Team spirit in remote mode

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Welcome to Bite Size – our bi-monthly blog where we explore a topic in bite size form – short, sharp and easy to digest

For some of you, working from home is not a new thing but for many, this week will have been your first experience of remote working.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many offices and businesses to insist their employees set up at home. It is crucial at a time like this, which seems so strange to many, that morale and team spirit are prioritised whilst teams get used to working together remotely.

The obvious advice to all those working from home is to maintain the same standards as if going to work. This means, getting dressed, setting time boundaries, taking breaks and getting outside.

But, as many thrive on the one-to-one contact that naturally occurs in the work environment, we would also advise prioritising human interactions. This means picking up the phone and talking to your team members rather than just relying on email.

As a step further, leaders and managers need to understand the psychology behind non-verbal communication as well. Albert Mehrabian, psychologist and professor at UCLA established that people evaluate a message based on 55% body language, 37% tone of voice and 7% on content. That is hard to replicate on a phone-call, but it is critical for leaders to indicate confidence through non-verbal communication. To do this, pay attention to your voice modulation and slow down the delivery of your message. On a video call, maintain good eye contact. A good example to follow is the way a news presenter would deliver their message.

When it comes to the wider team, if you are coming together on a video conference, let them have a few minutes at the beginning and end of the meeting to catch up and share personal news. This would be normal behaviour in the office so do not discourage it. People need to maintain connections particularly in times of social upheaval.

Most importantly: practice empathy and patience. Be available for each other and appreciate and recognise what everyone is doing.

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